By Dave Hopwood
D’you think he was wearing shades? Maybe a false beard? Or a hoodie? Whichever way it seems to me the incident of the God in the night-time that was the Emmaus road walk indicates one thing, Jesus has a cheeky sense of humour. He spends forever with these guys, pretending the whole time that he has no idea what’s going on, and that he doesn’t know anything about Jesus of Nazareth.
This is a very different Jesus to the pre resurrection man. Before it had been all about – watch me, learn from me, see how I treat people, see how I operate, then go and mimic me. Now, at the end of the Emmaus Road, the moment the shekel drops and they realise it’s him – kerbam – he disappears. He’s gone. The post resurrection Jesus is a kind of Catch-me-if-you-can dude. Now you see me, now you don’t.
Jesus in disguise. The hidden God.
Ever feel that? Like you’re following a shy Messiah? A shadowy, cheeky figure. You have to look hard, concentrate, keep your eyes peeled, just in case you might miss that sudden – ping – ‘here I am’ moment.
Seems to me that this Emmaus Road story, as told in Luke’s Blog, the chapter we now call 24, seems to me that was the start of something big. The beginning of faith as we know it today. Where’s your God then? Some people shout. Show us and we might just believe. Well, he’s there, no he’s there. No, he’s over here. And there, and just beyond that shadow. He’s in that wink, that tear, that joke, that scream. Etc. etc. etc.
Everybody wants proof of course. We’d all prefer that. Ever since Adam swapped life for knowledge in that old garden called Eden, when he was given that old offer he couldn’t refuse, from that old devil called Hissing Sid. From then on evidence became more important than trust.
It would be much easier to have a Jesus who is knocking around with a t-shirt with a big red J on it, and a wristband saying ‘What Would I Do’ – but it seems he won’t play that game. He wants us to own our faith, to do what those boys in Dead Poets Society did when they started copying the departing Mr Keating. They’d seen their maverick teacher stand on the desk, so hey, we can do that too they thought, and in tribute to their departing leader they got off their backsides and jumped on their desks. No more Mr Keating, now there’s a roomful of Mr Keating wannabes.
I guess it’s time to get on the desks. The Invisible Messiah ain’t around in the way he used to be when he laughed with prostitutes, bantered with workmen and spent time with sick kids. Must be our turn then.
Just keep an eye open for that guy with the shades and the false beard and the hoodie pulled low. Could be him again. Kerbam…
Dave likes loud music, good comedy, great films and Tony Parson’s novels. He finds the Bible hard to read so is dedicating much of his time to retelling it using all kinds of inappropriate things. That’s not his natural hair colour.